Poems from Coalescence

29 ½ Days

Before consonants, before vowels,
marks on wood, on bone, on cave
walls. Petrified, fossilized, faded.
Time to forage, to fornicate,
but when to migrate, to fish,
to feast without fear of famine?
Woman carries a calendar
at center, the egg’s monthly
exit spectacular. Man cannot
bleed like this and survive.
When her flow does not
return, her belly swells.
Man searches for other signs.
The celestial count begins.
Sun scars the eyes’ acuity
and weakens them for hunting.
Hail, Moon! Your mountains
and maria marvelous to behold!
Estimate the exact day of fullness,
followed by shadow’s curve.
A reckoning, a calculus, Newton
had not yet conceived. Keep track,
carve lines. Friction sparks intelligence,
fires the mind. Millennia later
we tap words on plastic keys,
unaware of north from south,
gibbous from crescent or croissant.
We melt grandfather’s pocket watch
for gold, honor an invisible atom’s
pulse. Cesium’s ceaseless sashay.

Early Morning in Late October

I hear them first, high
            away in the fog,
                      cacophony in crescendo.
            Each unseen push of vapor
a thrust downward,
wave of wingspan, struggle
            without surrender. The oaks’
                      burnished leaves cling
            in temporary elevation, soon
to shrink, brittle and dull. Suddenly
I see them, six geese
            above me. In seconds
                      mist masks
            their diminuendo.
Has this small band fallen
behind? Or are they
            the impatient ones,
                      urgent to reach
            winter’s refuge,
wordless instinct sharp? How
we, too, often proceed
            without a clear view.
                      How we strain to hear
            our wingless souls, risk
everything in rhythms ill-rehearsed.